Filming is underway in Perth on Don’t Stop the Music, a new three-part landmark documentary series for ABC TV, highlighting the transformative effects of teaching music in primary schools. The series has joint funding from Screen Australia and Screenwest and is backed by Musica Viva and the Salvation Army.
Featuring musical mentor, Guy Sebastian,Don’t Stop the Music follows one underprivileged Australian school’s journey to musical literacy. It will showcase leading music educators as they train the school’s teachers, giving them new tools to teach their students to play instruments and sing.
The school will introduce a new music program into its curriculum, using instruments donated from the wider community. The Principal’s ultimate dream: for all her students to reap the benefits of learning music and to eventually have a band to play at assembly.
Throughout the series, Guy Sebastian will encourage the students to step up and persevere with their instruments. He’ll workshop songs with them, inspiring them along the way with stories of his own musical journey. As the children sing, practice and perform together, we’ll witness the way this new approach benefits families and the community, as the school strives to establish a vibrant and sustainable culture of music.
As Guy explains, the importance of music in the school curriculum cannot be underestimated. “I was a singing teacher in numerous schools in Adelaide and I saw first-hand how music would light up a child’s face and lift them above all the things that weigh them down. Every child deserves that.”
63%* of primary schools in Australia offer no classroom music. Despite 90%** of parents valuing music and wanting their children to be involved, access to quality music education in schools has become highly inequitable. Recent studies have shown how incorporating music in a child’s education has life changing benefits; improving literacy, numeracy, confidence, behaviours and wellbeing.
As the TV series is launched on ABC primetime, a national multi-platform campaign and website will be launched with the help of celebrities to encourage the public to donate unused instruments that can be distributed to primary schools that need them. Strategic partnerships which include national re-cycling, retail chain Salvos Stores and award winning in-schools music program provider Musica Viva, will help in the collection, sorting, repair and distribution of instruments to schools who apply to receive them.
Don’t Stop the Music is currently filming in and around Perth.
*National Review of Music Education Report 2005
**Music Australia's Music Is Good Fact sheet, Aug 2017